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|05-08-2003, 12:36 PM||#1|
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Moses Lake, WA
Just who ARE the terrorists?
Competing efforts under way to undo, unbind Patriot Act
Scripps Howard News Service
New York - Jason Halperin and a friend were enjoying dinner at an Indian restaurant off Times Square in New York on March 20 when five policemen, guns drawn and wearing bulletproof vests, stormed in and ordered patrons and employees to gather in the rear of the building.
The police, Halperin said, pointed their guns "indiscriminately" at the frightened diners and workers and proceeded to kick down doors to closets and bathrooms, "their fingers glued to their triggers."
Eventually, he said, 10 other law enforcement officials wearing suits entered the now-secured restaurant, some identifying themselves as members of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
"I explained that we were just eating dinner and asked why we were being held," Halperin said. "I was told by the INS agent that we would be released once they had confirmation that we had no outstanding warrants and our immigration status was OK'd."
Despite the customers' protests, Halperin said, an agent insisted they had the authority to detain them indefinitely. He quoted the agent as saying, "You are being held under the Patriot Act, following suspicion under a homeland security investigation."
Indeed, Halperin said he later learned, the federal government has the power under the law, passed in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist incidents, to hold individuals without a warrant.
"I quite honestly didn't know how much the Patriot Act could infringe upon your freedoms," said the 24-year-old Halperin who works for Doctors Without Borders. "I looked through it afterward, and I really was shocked."
Incidents like the one involving Halperin - subsequently released without charge - are attracting attention from organizations and defenders of civil liberties who feel the Patriot Act is quickly eroding individual rights and freedoms.
The law, passed with little debate by Congress under pressure from the White House and Justice Department to counter terrorism, provides investigators with greater access to an individual's personal records with little oversight and no requirement to notify the person whose records were accessed.
"This bill has simply missed the mark of maximizing security and, at the same time, minimizing any adverse effects on America's freedoms," said Laura Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington national office. Most Americans, she said, remain unaware that the measure gives the government "expanded power to invade our privacy, imprison people without due process and punish dissent."
The Patriot Act was pieced together by Justice Department officials in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, the most devastating terrorist event in the nation's history. It was Attorney General John Ashcroft who ramrodded the legislation under orders from President Bush, who told him to take the steps necessary to assure that similar tragedies never occur.
Eight days after the tragedy, Ashcroft dispatched to Congress what officially is known as "The Uniting and Strengthening of America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act" - more popularly known as the USA Patriot Act. Many of its provisions were contained in a 1996 anti-terrorism bill shelved over concerns that it infringed on individuals rights. But the new atmosphere following Sept. 11 made acceptance of the new bill a foregone conclusion.
Several proposals were changed and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., then the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, managed to attach a sunset clause that brings a close to many of its provisions on Dec. 31, 2005. In October 2001, it passed the House 357-66 and the Senate 98-1, Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., being the lone holdout.
Now there is an effort under way, spearheaded by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to kill the sunset clause and make the bill's provisions permanent. And the Justice Department is tinkering with what is being called Patriot Act II, legislation that goes beyond its predecessor in providing new tools to law enforcement to battle terrorism.
"Our efforts have been carefully crafted to avoid infringing on constitutional rights while saving American lives," Ashcroft said soon after the Patriot Act became law. "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve."
The White House is satisfied that the Patriot Act is having the desired effect.
Ari Fleischer, the president's press secretary, said the Patriot Act "has served a very, very useful purpose to law enforcement."
The administration, Fleischer said, has detected no problem with the manner in which it is being enforced.
"I think it was crafted with civil liberties in mind, crafted in an era when we have to also make certain where we're doing everything possible to fight terrorists," he said.
Regardless, the Patriot Act contains provisions that critics not only consider intrusive but expand police powers while providing little or no oversight. Under the law, for instance, the FBI has the authority to access medical records, library records and student records without a warrant and probable cause. That particular provision has drawn opposition from, among others, the American Library Association, which adopted a resolution saying some sections present "a present danger to the constitutional rights and privacy rights of library users."
The law also:
- Permits information obtained during a domestic criminal investigation to be distributed to other authorities, like the CIA and Secret Service, without judicial review and limits on how the agencies can use the information;
- Expands the use of covert searches, permitting federal authorities to enter a home or office, take photos and download computer files, without prior notification;
- Allows "forum shopping," permitting law enforcement authorities to apply for a warrant in any court in any jurisdiction in which an investigation is under way to approve a search warrant in any section of the country;
- Creates a new crime, domestic terrorism, which can be construed to permit federal authorities to arrest individuals for minor offenses, including political protests, resulting in heavy fines;
- Allows domestic spying by the CIA;
- Permits authorities to indefinitely detain non-citizens without meaningful judicial review.
- Extends wiretap authority by authorizing intelligence wiretaps that don't need to specify the phone to be tapped.
The law is subject to broad criticism, not just from liberal-leaning groups such as the ACLU and People for the American Way. The Eagle Forum, a group led by conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, has weighed in against it, as have the Gun Owners for America and the Americans for Tax Reform.
"The president, the attorney general and those interested in maximizing individual liberty need to work together to guarantee that we can defend ourselves without altering the nature of the greatest society on earth," said David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union.
"The USA Patriot Act was passed in haste, (and) included ideas previously shelved by the Congress, like expanded civil forfeiture and roving wiretaps - ideas that law enforcement wanted, but could never get. When creating sound anti-terrorism legislation, the line should not be drawn at what is helpful for law enforcement, but at what is needed to protect us while preserving the proper balance between preserving civil liberties and our nation's national security needs."
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|05-08-2003, 07:08 PM||#2|
Advanced Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: "Gun Culture Members Clubhouse"...
The law, passed with little debate...
The law also: Permits information...
The law is subject to broad criticism...
Yep!...The Law sux...
|05-09-2003, 09:34 AM||#3|
Join Date: Jun 2001
Hitler and Stalin would have been proud of the Patriot act and
Homeland Security and the Tips program, and soon to be
Patriot II act, probably because it would have been something
they would not have been able to pull off. Just consider the
perception that is created by the words USA PATRIOT act . It is
an acronym U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. act.
U uniting and
S strengthening of
A america by
R required to
I intercept and
It all sounds good on the surface if you do not know what
each letter stands for, it makes you want to become
a flag waiver as we saw.(flags made in Communist China
i must add)
Whether it is Homeland Security, Patriot act and whatever else
they came up in the wake of 9/11, none of these were
crafted after 9/11 like they would want you to believe, but
were crafted years prior to 9/11. They create the events
so that all of this can be introduced at the right time with a
minnimum amount of opposition. Remember folks the formula,
create the PROBLEM to create the REACTION to create the
SOLUTION... PROBLEM-REATION-SOLUTION all orchestrated
whithin our government.
And then they tell you this was CAREFULLY CRAFTED to
avoid infringing on Constitutional Rights.
All Pickle Smoke !
Who are the Terrorists ?
THEY ARE ! Who are they ? every single one that voted on
this act without knowing the contents of it and all involved
in bringing this Unpatriotic act to a vote.
REALITY IS SCOFFED AT, ILLUSION IS KING !
|05-09-2003, 09:48 AM||#4|
Adnanced Senior Member
|05-09-2003, 12:10 PM||#5|
Join Date: Jun 2001
What they are pushing is unamerican patriotism.
Would the Founding Fathers support this type of
patriotism ? I don't think so !
So , NO ! I am not a U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T !
Our Founding Fathers would not be either.
They went to work for a lot less reason than
we have today. But we have so many LEMMINGS
running around looking for other LEMMINGS so that they can
justify their agendas and positions and their anti-
TO BEG FOR PERMISSION IS TRUE FREEDOM,
YOU HAVE THE CHOICE OF NOT BEGGING.
Last edited by Shizamus; 05-09-2003 at 12:12 PM..